Driving Myself Crazy

I have this morning off, and it’s been productive, and I am happy about that, because there are a lot of things that I needed to get done which i’ve also needed to get done during normal banking hours…

So I sent a flurry of messages to one of my lovely and tolerant friends that basically was this:

“I have been so hyper productive this morning, I’m so proud – I have made all the appointments and cleaned and then re-arranged the house”

“then re-arranged again because I didn’t like what I had done”

“then drove myself crazy because i’m late, and so i’m hyper-evaluating all of the things that might signify something, but really mean nothing”

“Except there was a very faint second line. So faint it might be just my imagination, except [Husband] saw it too..”

“But it’s probably nothing”

“But what if it’s not nothing?”


Yeah, so thats my head this morning. I am lucky to have friends who will take that flurry of crazy and be ok with it. I am lucky to have a Husband who came to terms with my crazy well over a decade ago and can ride it out with comparative calm.

I know that the odds against my being pregnant are astronomically high. I know that I am in all likelihood driving myself crazy over an imaginary shadow on a small stick of cardboard with reagents on it…

But thats the thing about hope. If I let it, it will run wild and all I can think of is this.

So now I need to go to work, to teach a Mommy-and-me fitness class that boarders on torture for me, because they talk about… all the things that new Mothers do, and I just feel excluded.



Beginning Again…

As we discussed potentially looking into adoption, my Husband and I realized we are not totally ready to give up on having our own biological child. So I went to the doctor and got a new referral to the fertility clinic, and we have an appointment in April. Because that’s how long it takes to get in to see the specialist – 6+ months. I was apprehensive about going back to the same clinic where i’d had the really lousy experience over two years ago now. It turns out Doctor Hudson, who was the utterly charming dipshit we saw before, has since retired. We won’t be risking having to deal with his lack of professionalism, patronizing bedside manner, or general idiocy again. In the meantime I have more blood tests, and my Husband has another sperm analysis, and around we go again – we need to exhaust some potentials before we can commit to the adoption process.

There are some differences this time around: My Husband is fully on board this time around, and has a better understanding of how daunting this process is emotionally. We’re older, more financially secure, we own a house now… We’re in a way better place in terms of our relationship than we were when we started trying to conceive over four and a half years ago.

A weird thing about revisiting fertility treatment options… I was already hesitant to share details about my struggle with infertility the last time around. I’m naturally a private person, I don’t like to share personal details, and there was no part of me that felt equipped to open up and have any kind of a conversation about something that felt like it was destroying me from inside out. This time around, the few people I did talk to about it think that i’ve put it behind me, and I kind of like it that way. I don’t like to think people see me as a sympathetic entity, and i’m too proud to admit that I’m going back to this place of mental chaos.

I am very much my own worst enemy. Even I can step far enough back from this to see that. But I am afraid that I when this fails I’ll have to admit once again that I can’t have a baby, and I already feel like a failure. If i’m going to fail again, I would prefer that it were just my Husband and I who know about it…

Failure is not just an option, it seems like the most likely outcome of this renewed effort. And I don’t want mine to be public knowledge any more than I did last time around.

Someday I’d like to have the courage to share and be open, but today is not that day.

On a side note, I do have a weird feeling about being 32… Like if it were going to happen, this will be the year.



I don’t often experience FOMO – as a card carrying introvert, I take avoiding situations to an artform. I was lucky enough to spend the last week on a road trip all over Jasper and Banff, camping along the Athabasca river, checking out glaciers, lake Louise, hiking up through the mountains to the teahouse at the Six Glaciers. It was amazing. I am lucky that the friend I went with is also happy to be alone in her own head, because I think we achieved the perfect balance of company and alone time. I had a hardcore anxiety moment driving into the crowds of Banff and Lake Louise after four days away from people in general – between the crowds and the poorly laid out traffic patterns, I had a bit of a meltdown – just needed to get back to the campsite and away from people. We ended up grabbing some ciders, heading to the campsite, and having some pretty intense conversations about life – which was way more my speed.

I had started that morning sobbing down by the river. I keep thinking that i’ve laid the issue of fertility to rest – that I know it won’t happen, that after four and a half years, the details are written in stone, and I just need to accept them. And mostly I have – I’m finding it easier to talk about my infertility, I spend less time crying and more time focussing on my work and getting on with my life. There seems to be a natural ebb and flow to the degree of my anxiety with regard to how settled I feel, and I suspect at least some of it is hormonal. I have noticed there there are generally about two non-consecutive days each month or so when I just feel like shit, and that day was one of them.

So the intense conversation: It basically came down to the fact that I am not done thinking about having a baby. A biological baby. The simple reality is that we can’t afford to consider most options right now – we just bought our house, and I just quit my full time job so that I can pursue more lucrative, if less secure options. There is no feasible way for us to pursue expensive fertility treatments at this time. And I don’t know that I could handle the pressure, stress, or the potential disappointment of going that route. Also, frankly, I don’t know if I have the full support of my Husband. He tends more towards the “it’ll happen if it happens” mentality about most things – he will work his ass off for his business, and he started a successful business during a recession, and a decade later it’s still going, and I am so proud of him… but when it comes to things closer to home, he either leaves them to me, or ignores them (or both). The simple reality is that I want to be a Mum. I want to coparent with my Husband. I knew I wanted to marry him and for him to be my life partner at 19, when I realized I wanted him to be that person forever (we didn’t get married for another five years, but that’s irrelevant). Dammit, I want us to have OUR child. I think that’s why I haven’t argued too much with him about the adoption factor – I know we would both love any child in our care, and that we would never go into that without being all in. Its just that I always thought it would be our little genetically linked jerk we would be raising, and however logical and pragmatic I try to be, that’s what I keep coming back to – I want to see what our genetics result in. We have the potential to have an absolute holy terror of a child… and on some level I want that. And I continue to want that, even though I know it isn’t a likely option for our future. So… FOMO – so much fear of missing out. So much figuring out what I fear missing out on… and some knowing that I already see what i’m missing out on, and that just makes me more sad.

I’ve always thought of FOMO as more of a social thing. In this case, it’s just about life – what do I think i’m missing out on in this life, and How can I either learn to be ok with it, or find a way to experience it?

Socially, I am mostly happy to just be at home, or hiking with my puppydog, or seeing a friend now and then… Life.. Lifewise I feel like i’m missing out on a huge part of it, and I am having a lot of trouble reconciling with that.


Breast Reduction

So I did it – one week ago I hopped up on the surgical table and went under, and a lovely and supportive lady surgeon, with some serious skills, took a scalpel to my 36H+’s. All told she took ~2.5lbs off each side – a little over 5 lbs total. (900g+/side, verging on a full Kg bilaterally). I am lucky in that I respond really well to anaesthesia, so I came out of the surgery with no nausea, minimal pain, and pretty oriented. The first day I was definitely a little stoned – nothing huge, it wasn’t until a friend of mine dropped by and I tried to keep up a conversation and count crochet stitches that I realized how slow I was … I was not able to do those two things… and was very, very mellow.

Basically I was done with the meds by three days post op, and the pain has been totally manageable. The itchy skin healing sensation is somewhat crazy making. but that’s fine – it means things are doing what they should be. Seven days later, my main frustration is that I can’t sleep in my normal position on my front and curled up in all sorts of awkward positions with my arms flailed over my head… I am stuck sleeping on my back until the sutures heal and the skin doesn’t feel like it’s pulling apart.

So sleep isn’t easy when not doped up on pain meds… But otherwise i’m thrilled. My breasts haven’t been this perky ever – not even in high school. I’m an almost 32 year old woman with breasts that don’t require any support… it’s kinda awesome. ¬†Even the surgeon seemed amused when I giggled about the extra four inches of torso I suddenly have.

And I look thinner – and fatter, because although i’m fit, I do have some abdominal fat I need to work on. But thinner, because I don’t have an extra five+ pounds of tissue cantilevering out over my stomach.

So upshot is, this surgery was the best thing I could have done. It’s gonna be uncomfortable for a while, and that’s ok – I didn’t need a ton of time off work, but i’m glad I have it, because I am tired, and sleeping a lot, and that’s pretty normal while letting my body recover.

So here’s to modern medicine, socialized medical care, and no more back and neck pain.. not to mention some adorable breasts.





T-five days to surgery. It’s not a big deal. I’ve been enjoying a whole lotta puns about it being a superficial surgery.

Except that for me it is a big deal. I am choosing to have someone take a scalpel to my tissue to make some significant changes to my body. Three pounds off each breast (ish). I am hoping that this makes a huge difference in my neck and shoulder pain. I am not expecting a miracle, but I think not having ~15lbs hanging off my chest will be helpful. My Husband is fishing for the week, which is fine… Honestly, not having him around means that I can clean the house and keep it that way, and get a bunch of little misc. things done around the house to make sure it’s in a state that won’t drive me crazy while I’m not able to lift or move anything. Never mind the scrubbing and cleaning. However, not having him around also means I have a lot of time alone in the evening without a foil to bounce any thoughts that occur to me…

Friday, Friday I go to get this done. Five more days.

I’m not any better at waiting than I am at humility.



More than most things, depression is humbling.

I have in most aspects of my life been able to force my way through, muscle/brain/charm/flirt, etc. I am lucky. I am a pretty, caucasian, blond, and highly intelligent female. I found out when I was 17 that the IQ tests I took at age 9 designated me a genius – on a continuum I fall about halfway between 99-100. I didn’t actually know when I was placed in the gifted program at age 10 what it meant, other than that i got to skip social studies, which was great for me – give me mind puzzles over details on the voyageurs any day. I mostly use this as an example as why when I say that IQ is not a relevant indication of success, it’s not sour grapes – I am in the top 0.5 percentile according to highly biased tests best suited to middle class north americans. I just don’t think IQ is relevant because, frankly, it has a lot of research and anecdotal evidence suggesting it is not. However, it has been valuable to me in that I pick up new concepts quickly, I can respond and amalgamate new information efficiently, And I see links between details that are not immediately evident to others…. Basically I feel like I am extremely good at fooling people into thinking I know more than I do. Don’t get me wrong, in my chosen field of active rehabilitation, I am good – I have worked my butt of to know, research, back up, and reenforce what I do, and I am good at it. But much of the rest of my life I am simply faster on my feet than average, and therefor I feel like i’ve fooled people into thinking I am smarter/better than I am.

All that being said, where does the humble come in? Here’s where:

I can’t muscle/think/smartass my way through depression and mental illness. Long before I started this blog, I was in denial that I was experiencing depression. My sister in law told me, years ago, that what I was experiencing was depression – she was right – and I denied it outright. My own fear of the stigma and overall atmosphere surrounding mental health caused me to completely disregard my own. In my mind, the fact that I was not suicidal, and could get my butt out of bed in the morning, were indications that I was fine. I was not aware of the term “high functioning depression”. I thought that to be depressed I would have to be basically bedridden and lacking any kind of motivation.

So I convinced myself that the black hole of a mental state was just my being grumpy, it had nothing to do with the feelings of inadequacy, the fear, self loathing, insecurity, fatigue… It was just my having a shitty day. Nothing to worry about. Because I could get up, go to work, be a full time student and work 2-3 part time jobs and still be a supportive friend/wife/sibling/child… all of this could happen, right?

I promised myself time off when I finished my undergrad – I was just going to work the part time job as a research coordinator for a lab at the university – a role I had been doing while completing my undergrad degree and honours thesis (it’s published, woowoo). Then I got my first real job as a Kinesiologist, and the next five years are what she wrote – far be it for me to turn down a job in my chosen field and not choose to work my ass off. But I never took time off. By the time I walked across the stage I was already embarked on my new career – something that few of my peers had managed, but something that meant that long desired and planned for time off didn’t happen. Fast forward five interesting and professionally fulfilling years – I don’t regret that decision. But I was burnt out and a mess at the end of my undergrad, and I never actually took the pause that I promised myself.

Back to humble. Basically it is this: It doesn’t matter how smart, driven, determined, or full on stubborn I am. Depression has caught up with me and overrun my life in the last few years. And that is humbling; not because I thought I was better than anyone else, but because I had that stupid blind faith that I would somehow manage to be the exception: That Depression wouldn’t be able to take its tole, do it’s damage, because I would push through. So … humbled. Because this is my take away: You can run, but you can’t hide. You can busy the shit out of your brain, prioritize other things and people, and run at full steam for as long as you can… but you cannot ignore mental health. It isn’t simply gone. It refuses to be forgotten. Trust me on this, I tried. For years. For years before I knew what I was doing, and possibly with more fervour once I had more awareness. Therapy helped a lot, because it tends to. And I think it was a decent stopgap measure, but in my vanity, I still thought I could go it alone, and that was an epic fail.

When I finally hit the point earlier this year that I wanted to stop existing, I was clear that I needed help. All of the help. And I needed to let go of my own narcissistic vanity and be vulnerable. And I hated every second of that. I hate being vulnerable, I hate feeling weak, and I hate letting people in and needing support. But in wanting to not be me anymore, I realized I had to stop pretending that my depression wasn’t real.

I’m not going to for a second pretend I have any answers. I don’t. I don’t want to die. I want to see what life has to offer. I wish I had more humility, because even as I write this I still feel like I should know better. But that is the thing with being humbled – it happens in spite of yourself, not because of a decision, despite one… despite your sense of self, wants, needs… the id will out. And mine has wanted out with a vengeance, and scares the ever living shit out of me.

At least I don’t want to die.

Ugh. Humble is not my colour.



It’s been two weeks since I finished with my previous job, and I’m two weeks out from my surgery. My new job is actually busier than I expected it to be – I’m working 15-20 hours a week instead of the 5-10 hours I expected. So thats good, I think. What is less good is the realization that although I am happy to be done with my previous company, this new job is not really what I want to be doing. I miss the clinical setting, I miss collaborating with other therapists. So at least now I know what I want to focus on in terms of where I will build my career.

I am also struggling hard with the increased down time. My mental health has been a lot better in the past few months, which is lovely… But having down time to sit with myself is not really something I enjoy much. I don’t think i’ve really been ignoring anything lately, so it’s not that I am suddenly being confronted with things I was pushing aside. Except exactly how terrified I am about going in for this breast reduction surgery. I had been basically ignoring it, because I know its going to happen, I know it needs to happen, and that’s it.

Then on Tuesday I dropped a friend off/picked her up for her surgery – not the same type of surgery, but similar duration. Not a totally routine surgery, because there was some uncertainty as to exactly what the procedure would be/how long it would take, but I had no real reason to worry, she’s healthy, active, etc. And I was utterly terrified for her. I don’t know why. I know she’s important to me, obviously, she’s my friend. I also was pretty aware that there was no reason to think she would be anything other than find after the whole thing. She did look nervous going into it. She told me afterwards that she was shaking before they gave her the general anaesthetic. She is fine, by the way – no complications, out safe, and healing away. But something about watching her go into surgery and then staying with her during her recovery really brought it home to me what I am in for.

Some of that is just basic logistics – forced time off, pain, recovery, the fact that I wish I had been able to lose more weight prior to surgery. Some of it was watching her not really be herself for a period of time, and seeing her so scared. And trying not to mirror that, because she doesn’t need to be worried about looking after me while dealing with her own recovery. But unfortunately I stressed my brain in a way I didn’t expect, and the aftermath has me feeling all weird and discombobulated and messed up. Which is no-one’s fault but my own.

I am not expecting any complications from my surgery – I too am a healthy adult, and i’ve been under general anaesthetic before with no ill effects. I have the time booked off work, i’ve looked into medical EI, and I have my Husband and some other friends available to help with anything I need. I think having had over four weeks to think about it, and having had it rescheduled twice already has me feeling weird – I feel like I can’t really engage with my new job fully, because I have to take time away. I don’t want to work too hard to book a lot of new clients when I know that I will have to leave them, first for a week while I recover, and then again for a week at the end of August because i’m taking my first vacation in at least nine years. The additional awareness that it’s not exactly what I want to be doing is also not terribly helpful in that respect.

I’m just feeling lost, and sad, and weird, and socially awkward, and like I lack direction. And I don’t really know what to do about it. I don’t especially want to be around anyone, and I don’t have deadlines or details to immerse myself into. I cleaned out some closets while waiting for my friend to be done with her surgery, and i’ve organized parts of the house that have needed it since we moved in. I have a few small projects that could happen, so maybe that is what I will focus on for the next two weeks – all the heavy and energy consuming jobs that I can’t do once I’ve been chopped and re-built, because I’m not allowed to lift things for over a month.

I am so terrified. I don’t really understand why, I just am. It’s not just the surgery, it’s the job, the changes, life – I feel like i’ve stepped out onto a high wire with no safety equipment. And some of that is tangled up in the fact that this surgery is in part an acknowledgement of what I already know: That I won’t have biological children… But this is something I had always postponed until after, so having it now is one more permanent mark on that page.

Ugh, torturing metaphors.

I need to stop writing now. I have nothing else productive to say, just the circles and spirals of thought that have been going on in my head for most of the week. I think tomorrow I need to take myself for a long hike alone, and work out my body and my brain. Because oh fuck, that option won’t be available to me after the 28th.